Cycle 4 Sam

Cycle 4 Sam 2008


"Cycle 4 Sam 2008 - Tour of South Australia" finished on Monday October 6 at the Women's and Children's Hospital. It was a wonderful event, and was supported generously by a wide group of schools, organisations, and individuals.

Michelle and I would sincerely like to thank the cyclists and support crew involved for their dedication and support in ensuring this event was a huge success. 

"Cycle 4 Sam 2008 - Tour of South Australia" commenced on Monday September 29 at Wilpena Pound with a minute’s silence for Sam followed by a balloon release. The backdrop for the start of this ride, Arkaroo Rock, was incredible and we all sensed the next 8 days was going to be very special.

Leaving Wilpena Pound we cycled south and travelled through towns such as Melrose, Clare,  Mannum, Victor Harbor, around Kangaroo Island (including Remarkable Rocks), and Normanville, before finishing at the Women's and Children's Hospital 8 days later on Monday October 6. Twelve cyclists completed all of the 8 stage/ 1150km course, which also included over 9000m of vertical climbing! 

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Stage 1

Ride time


Average speed

Arkaroo Rock to Melrose

7 hours 5 minutes



Today began on the outer rim of Wilpena Pound, at the foot of Arkaroo Rock.

We had a minute’ s silence for Sam and remembered all children fighting terminal illness in South Australia. A balloon release then followed. The combination of  blue sky, Arkaroo Rock, colourful balloons and Cycle 4 Sam jerseys made an impressive sight.

The 40km ride to Hawker was spectacular. The ancient Flinders Ranges and its magnificent red colours surrounded us on all sides.

Morning tea was at Hawker where we had camped the night before. We made our lunches, refilled our drink bottles and headed to Quorn.

We worked well as a team at a solid pace into a trying headwind for the next 66km

The landscape between Hawker and Quorn was flat , desolate, and covered in salt bush. This was in stark contrast to our first 40km.

We had lunch in Quorn before continuing south and riding the final 63km to Melrose.

The ride today took 7 hours. We were exhausted on arrival, but the boiled eggs, tuna pasta, beer, and massage soon took away any pain!

We dined that night at the magnificent North Star Hotel in Melrose, and raffled off the first of 3 mountain bikes.

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Stage 2

Ride time


Average speed

Melrose to Clare

 4 hours  53 minutes



A beautiful day with blue sky greeted us this morning. After some photos outside the North Star Hotel we headed south.

The first few kilometers were difficult despite the perfect conditions as bums and knees were showing some side effects from the previous day.

The road to Clare was stunning. Crops of canola, peas, and wheat are prevalent through this region, and later grape vines.

We made good time today in “champagne” cycling conditions. Lunch was in Yakka. Our resident film maker Brendan Roberts interviewed a number of us as we rode. 

Some of his footage was used by the local TV station that evening giving us some great publicity.

We camped that night at the Clare Caravan Park.
A number of our family and friends joined us in Clare that evening and we had A BIG barbeque tea for about 50 people that evening

Matts Ward set the kids a challenge that if they could raise $100 from the campgrounds he would shave his legs. 30 minutes later they came back with the money and shavers!

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Stage 3

Ride time


Average speed

Clare to Mannum

7 hours 15 minutes



Today we woke to the news of an extreme weather warning. 100kmh north westerly winds were expected. Undeterred, we commenced the longest stage of this trip, 183km to Mannum.

We were invited to have morning tea at Martindale Hall, 23km from Clare. The detour was well worth the effort as we were greeted with scones with jam and cream and pots of coffee.

As we headed south again the wind picked up considerably and we literally sailed into Kapunda, with an average speed of 43kmh!

The paceline roared into Angaston, helped by the strong northerly tailwind. We had our lunch at Yalumba winery, and were greeted by our good friend and Yalumba employee Brad Collings.

Leaving Angaston we cycled the ridge of the Mt Lofty Ranges. The wind shifted to some strong westerly gusts and we had to hang on tight for fear of being blown off the road!

Eventually we hit the Mannum road and rolled into Tungkillo. The Tungkillo friendship Group had put on a magnificent afternoon tea for us, and then presented us with a cheque for $300 from the proceeds of a trading table and cake stall.

The descent from Tungkillo to Mannum can best be described as exhilarating with some cyclists clocking up over 80kmh.

Mannum was just stunning, our caravan park was on the river front. We had a team “wade” in the river before massage, beer, eggs, and tea at the hotel.

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Stage 4

Ride time


Average speed

Mannum to Victor Harbor

4 hours  45 minutes



We departed Mannum and crossed the Murray on the ferry. We were escorted by a “whistling kite” as we climbed the hill on the other side of the river.

We arrived at Murray bridge about an hour later and were joined by Russell Jenkins from Bendigo Bank. He had flown from Melbourne that morning to join us.

It was perfect cycling conditions with a clear blue sky and a light breeze. From Callington to Strathalbyn we set a cracking pace.

Lunch was at Strathalbyn on the grassy banks of the Angas River. From Strathalbyn we headed to Victor Harbor.

On arrival at Victor we had photos taken at the lookout, and then a group of us headed to Bendigo Bank to be presented with a cheque from Russell Jenkins. 

Elders Insurance also put on a barbeque for us. Tim Edmonds had organized this sponsorship and he thanked Elders on our behalf.

Pete Roberts set the kids another challenge that night. He would shave his legs if they raised another $150. Thirty minutes later the kids returned successful!

This was Doug’s last night with us and that evening we fare welled Doug. In an emotional response Doug thanked all of us and told us much this trip had helped him cope with the loss of Mitchell.

Doug was an inspiration for us on this trip and we are all grateful for his efforts in the support team.

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Stage 5

Ride time


Average speed

Victor Harbor to Kingscote

 5 hours  24 minutes



It was an emotional departure from Victor Harbor as we said goodbye to Doug.

Soon out of Victor the competitive juices flowed as we battled out the King of the Mountain stage up Newland Hill.

Matt’s Ward took line honors, followed by Richard Fuller on one lung, and Jaimie Holland. Matt’s joy was short lived however as he vomited not long afterwards!

As we rode along the ridge top towards Parawa the rain settled in and we donned wet weather gear for the first time of the tour.
At Parawa we were greeted by some old Hockey mates James Brook and Steven Holt. They and their partners had put on a superb morning tea for us.

From Parawa we headed to Cape Jervis. The descent into Cape Jervis was steep and fast. Richard Fuller clocked up 83kmh on this descent!

We all boarded the ferry to Kangaroo Island and had a pleasant trip across. 
The next challenge was the steep climb out of Penneshaw straight after getting off the ferry. Slow and steady did the trick and everyone made it.

The rode to Kingscote was smooth, scenic and undulating. The rain was persistent however, and by the time we got to Kingscote we were tired.

After our post ride eggs, pasta, massage and beer Michael Warley treated us to his famous Laksa which was well received by all. Brendan Roberts celebrated his birthday today and we presented him with a Cycle 4 Sam jersey which he proudly put on to the delight of everyone.

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Stage 6

Ride time


Average speed

Kingscote to Vivonne Bay 
(via Remarkable Rocks)

6 hours  19 minutes



We woke to a stunning blue sky and light winds.  Pete Roberts bike was secretly covered with Charlie’s dinosaur bike accessories much to his delight!

After a group photo at Brownlow Beach we headed along the Playford Highway to Parndana.

Parndana is the second biggest settlement on Kangaroo Island and is on top of a plateau. An extremely steep climb was required to get to Parndana, dispelling the myth that mainland KI was flat!

After morning tea at Parndana we continued to head west, and then took a sharp southerly turn towards Flinders Chase National Park.

We arrived at Flinders Chase Visitors Centre for lunch and then rode the 16km road out to Remarkable Rocks. 
In what was to be one of the best sections of the tour this 16km section had everything including steep climbs, fast descents, nice flat sections, and awesome scenery.
Arriving at Remarkable Rocks everyone was on a high. After hundreds of photos were taken, we turned back to Flinders Chase National Park, and then rode 42km in an easterly direction to Vivonne Bay. As a team we flew home, aided by a slight tail wind, averaging 40kmh.

We camped at the Vivonne Bay Eco-Adventure Centre. This campsite is set amongst bushland and only a short distance from the beach voted the best in Australia, Vivonne Bay.

Sealink who own the site, and Vivonne Bay Eco Adventures are two of our sponsors. They most generously provided us with our accommodation and put on a benefit and karaoke night for us as well. We were also treated us to a “ Birds of Prey” show which our kids just loved. 

The benefit night and karaoke night was held in the newly opened bistro. With the assistance of Tom Heath who acted as the auctioneer on the night, the evening raised over $4000.

Thank you so much to Simon Ward and his beautiful family, and the team at Vivonne Bay Eco-Adventures for their wonderful support and hospitality.

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Stage 7

Ride time


Average speed

Vivonne Bay to Normanville

 4  hours 40 minutes



Today was the first day of daylight savings and we lost an hour of sleep. We had to ride 100km to Penneshaw in time for the 12.30am ferry.

Whilst we powered towards Penneshaw at a cracking pace, the families visited the giant sand dunes called Little Sahara.

We arrived at Pennshaw ahead of schedule and were able to relax before boarding the ferry.  Jaimie Holland entertained us with his best Hunters and Collectors tunes on the guitar.

Fortunately the ferry trip was smooth, and we braced ourselves for the biggest climb of the whole tour, Cape Jervis Hill.

Cape Jervis Hill is 400m in altitude but the climb commences as soon as you get off the ferry. Matts Ward again took line honors but there was a great sense of achievement for the cyclists who completed this climb.

As we cycled the ridge towards Normanville we kept our sights on the skies looking out for a fixed wing aircraft. Brendan Roberts had hired a plane in search of some special cycling action shots!

The ride to Normanville was stunning as we hugged the coastline; coast was on our left, soaring cliffs on our right.

On arrival at Normanville the weather was warm and the seas were calm. We all waded in the clear cool water as part of our recovery.

Dolphins were frolicking in the water behind us. The scene was perfect.

After our refreshing dip we had our customary  massage and beer. The post ride meal consisted of lasagne courtesy of Catherine and James Brook who had cooked for us.

That evening we reminisced about this great adventure we had been part of and were saddened that it would all be over tomorrow.

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Stage 8

Ride time


Average speed

Normanville to Adelaide

 4 hours  52 minutes



We woke to rain and a cold wind, but across the sea there was a beautiful rainbow.

Today was our last day of the tour and 6 cyclists had arrived from Adelaide to join us for the last stage. One of these cyclists, Martin O’Connor, has a son Lawrence battling a rare terminal illness and it was wonderful to have him join us.

Departing at 9.20am we rode into Yankalilla, and then up the hill and across the ridge to Myponga. Being a public holiday Monday there were many cars on the road and we had to pull over several times to let them past.

The rain and headwind made cycling heavy going and we trudged into Meadows an hour behind schedule. We picked up 6 more cyclists at Meadows and our peleton now consisted of 25 cyclists.

From Meadows we traveled to Mylor and then along the picturesque Aldgate Valley Drive. Soon after we descended the Mount Lofty bike track into Adelaide.

At the corner of Portrush and Glen Osmond Road two police motor bikes were waiting for us to escort us into Adelaide. A number of our friends and family were also waiting to join us for the last 10km into the Women’s and Children’s Hospital.

We now consisted of a pack of about 35 riders. We traveled down Glen Osmand Road turned into Hutt St, and then Frome Road where we could see the Hospital.

We then traveled the bike path where, in the distance, we could see a large group waiting for us, including Charlie and Lucy Roberts in their Cycle 4 Sam cycling jerseys.

Charlie was very excited to be leading the peleton past the finish line on his bike with training wheels!

Finally after 8 days and 1156km the ride had finished. It was an emotional end to a wonderful trip in memory of Sam and in support of the Paediatric Palliative Care Unit.

The Bendigo Bank pig was also in attendance to greet us home and we are extremely grateful for their outstanding financial support